Tonight was the two hour finale of Far North Sound. Thank you to Jessica Marchillo for celebrating my final hours at CJAM with me! I told the 10 year saga today bit by bit... here is the whole story:
Like everything in my life so far, I kind of fell into CJAM and consequently a career in radio. In high school, I decided to try a co-op placement. I had no clue what I wanted to be “when I grew up,” but I did know I had a passion for music; Not that I could play it, dance well to it, or even truly understand it, but music was my escape, my happy place, something that moved me unlike anything else. So I tried a placement at a production studio in town... but due to insurance risks, it didn't work out, and I landed at CJAM. I came in for my interview and met Chris Cecile, the Volunteer Coordinator at the time. I thought he was an incredible person; very intelligent, funny and gregarious. He made CJAM a place that I enjoyed coming to on a day to day basis. Christien Gagnier was the Music Director at the time, and was actually the person who first put me on-air. In classic CJAM form, we walked into the studio and noticed the last DJ didn't set the CD to repeat, so there was dead air. Christian looked at me and said “Jump on-air! I'll grab a CD!” Well I almost crapped my pants. I clicked the mic button on, stuttered for at least 10 seconds before I finally managed to say “This... is... CJAM... 95 Point 1! Urg... I mean CJAM... 91 point 5... umm.... I'm Theresa.... uummm... yeah... I'm the co-op student.” And for some reason, the staff has allowed me to remain on air for 10 years since that moment!
I have had many experiences, and many different shows over my 10 years on CJAM. I first started on air on Tuesdays while I was a co-op student. The show was called Co-op Chaos and I programmed the hour with my fellow co-op student Tyler Lesperance. It worked out well because we both enjoyed punk rock; I liked a LOT of pop punk, and he liked some harder stuff, so it rounded out well. Eventually Tyler left the show, and since I wasn't a co-op student anymore, the name just didn't work. As many of my close friends know, I don't like to make decisions, so I didn't. I had an unnamed show, but since Chris and group of volunteers at CJAM were so colourful, they loved to surprise me weekly with a new show name on the log. I obliged and used the name provided every week... until eventually a name stuck, T-Bagging With Theresa. Yes those were good years.
I found old promo that two wacky volunteers, and great friends of mine, Adam Fox & Jan Blondin made back in the day, it's worth a listen:
As the school years passed, I made many friends, although most of them connected back to CJAM. There was such a commonality between the CJAMers, there seemed to be a bond we couldn't break. I believe it was in one of my sound classes, I met Lisa DelDuca. We decided to program a show together on Thursday nights and called it We Surrender. The name came from our situation at CJAM at the time. My co-op position allowed me to program a show without filling out a proposal and picking a real focus or theme but the new Program Director was insistent that Lisa and I picked a theme and stuck with it. We felt forced into the process, so named the show We Surrender as a small protest to that. But in the end, we picked a focus - alternative dance/indie rock. It was the good ol days when the local alternative dance bar was spinning Bloc Party, Metric, Postal Service, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Sounds, Arctic Monkeys, Hot Hot Heat etc.
In 2007, We Surrender transformed into the all genre, all Canadian show you have come to know and love! Lisa and I continued the show together for quite awhile, until school and work schedules got in the way. Lisa started programming her own show Homespun... we both couldn't escape the love of Canadian music! Some of our favourite Canadian artists at the time were Feist, Born Ruffians, Bocce, You Say Party!, Hayden, and Mother Mother.
In September of 2008, my show moved to Mondays at 6p, and that is where I have remained until this faithful day! 10 years is a really long time to volunteer at a campus station. There is a ton of work that goes into planning a show and keeping it fresh and exciting, not only for the listeners, but for the host as well. I have remained at CJAM over the years because of the people, the music and because CJAM has allowed me to freely express myself. I play new music every week, so there is a chance that I think a new artist is cool, but when I play the track... it happens to be a stinker. I love that I can go on-air and say “Well that song sucked!” I can be honest with the listeners... I can play songs that people haven't heard before... Or I can play a track I think no one else knows and get a call from a listener who says “I love that track!” The calls, emails and feedback from listeners really inspired me to continue. If you have a favourite radio host on CJAM... tell them! Radio is such a detached medium; We can't see our listeners enjoying our music or tell how many people are actually listening. So let your favourite host know you enjoy their program and help keep them driven to play you awesome music!
My experiences at CJAM helped form my life and my career. University is very hands off, but CJAM is completely hands on. When I started interning at a commercial radio station, they didn't think that I would know much about the technical side of radio. Because of CJAM, I knew how to run a board and edit audio, and consequently landed my full time position as a producer. And not only did I learn the technical side of radio, as a member of the board, I learned what it takes to run a station as well. Budgets, licenses, transmitters, signals, policies, by-laws, the CRTC! Being on the board gave me a chance to truly learn about all aspects of a radio station, not to mention the critical thinking skills I obtained by being a board member. CJAM is a magical place... make sure you tune in or volunteer and take advantage of all it has to offer!
Thanks to all the people who have kept me motivated and taught me so much: Chris Cecile, Christien Gagnier, Adam Fox, Cassandra Monzon, Chris White, Lisa DelDuca, Jan Blondin, Murad Erzinclioglu, Sarah Morris, Hilda Coker, Tom Fleming, Todd Fraba, Trevor Klundert... and everyone else I am sure I am forgetting. And most of all, thank you to everyone who has tuned in, called in or pledge my show... you made programming a show completely worth it. These ten years have been nothing short of incredible. The end of this era is bittersweet, but all good things must end. I will continue to listen to Canadian music and create audio pieces, so keep your ears peeled! Thank you so much for amazing 10 years!
And the playlist... Canadian music is amazing, don't overlook it! FNS FOREVA!
Plants & Animals – Faerie Dance – Parc Avenue – Secret City (Montreal)
Mac Demarco – Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans – Rock n Roll Nightclub – Captured Tracks (Montreal)
Dusted – Centuries of Sleep – Total Dust – Hand Drawn Dracula (Toronto)
Hayden – Damn This Feeling – In Field & Town – Hardwood (Toronto)
Dan Mangan – About As Helpful As You Can Be – Oh Fortune – Arts & Crafts (Vancouver)
Islands – Creeper – Arm's Way – ANTI (Montreal)
Feist – Comfort Me – Metals – Arts & Crafts (Toronto)
Immaculate Machine – Thank Me Later – High on Jackson Hill – Mint (Victoria)
Broken Social Scene – Sweetest Kill – Forgiveness Rock Record – Arts & Crafts (Toronto)
Hot Hot Heat – Get in or Get Out – Make Up the Breakdown – Sub Pop (Victoria)
Chromeo – I'm Not Contagious – Business Casual – Last Gang (Montreal)
Henri Faberge & the Adorables – The Goddamn Light – S/T – IND (Toronto)
The Bicycles – Long johns & Toques – The Good The Bad & The Cuddly – Fuzzy Logic (Toronto)
Mother Mother – Dirty Town – Touch Up – Last Gang (Vancouver)
Born Ruffians – Little Garcon – Red Yellow & Blue – Paper Bag (Toronto)
Chad Vangaalen – Peace on the Rise – Diaper Island – Flemish Eye (Calgary)
Black Mountain – Stormy High – In the Future – Jagjaguwar (Vancouver)
King Khan & the Shrines – Took My Lady To Dinner – The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines – Vice (Montreal)
Aline Morales – Tem Do Di Mem – Flores, Tambores e Amores – IND (Toronto)
Caribou – Odessa – Swim – Merge (Vancouver)
Hannah Georgas – Enemies – Hannah Georgas – Dine Alone (Toronto)
Bahamas – Caught Me Thinking – Barchords – Brushfire (Toronto)
Elephant Stone – Setting Sun – S/T – IND (Montreal)
Junior Boys – You'll Improve Me – It's All True - Domino (Hamilton)